The Right to the Private Ownership of Property

The right to the private ownership of property in the United States is almost dead — and with it’s death, so dies liberty.

All individuals are born with certain inalienable, God-given rights  — among these being life, liberty and property.

These rights, being given to us by our Creator, means that no man has the authority to deprive another of their natural rights.  And acting collectively as a group, commonly called the state, no group of men has the moral authority to deprive an individual of their rights.

All three rights are inseperable, for they are all interdependent upon the other.  Without life, there is no liberty and property.  And because of life, liberty and property rights are needed.

Because of human nature and the nature of government, humans have been on a constant struggle since the beginning of time to defend their natural rights against aggression by the state — nothing more than a group of men acting collectively.

This was the genius of the American experiment in self government.  The founders of this nation were very well read on political philosophy, and they had a deep understanding of human nature, the nature of government and the natural course of government to grow and deprive more and more of their God-given rights.

That’s why they established a constitutional republic, with a decentralized government that had very limited powers — namely to be a defender of our natural rights.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly giving the nature of government, since the founding of the US, Americans have constantly been deprived of their natural rights by an ever expanding central government.

And one of the basic rights that we’ve been deprived of is the right to the ownership of private property.

For it can be seen all around us.  Government approval of cars, smoking bans, regulations on private businesses — the list goes on and on.

Let’s take one example, say smoking bans, and analyze how it is an enormous violation on the right to the ownership of private property — thus, the death of liberty.

Brian has been working all his life, saving his money so that one day he could open up his own restaurant/bar.  Finally achieving his goal, Brian opens up his bar.  Because he is located in a college town, and because college kids generally smoke at bars, Brian makes a wise business decision to allow people to smoke freely in the bar.

Enter the do-gooder politician, Lefty.  Lefty realizes the scientific fact that smoke increases the risk of cancer.  Wanting to do a so-called “public service,” Lefty finds a few people who don’t ever go to Brian’s bar because they don’t like cigarette smoke.  Lefty gets the people in front of the city council to talk about how it’s unfair because they can’t go in Brian’s bar because they’re either allergic to smoke or fear cancer, or some other blah blah blah.  In the name of public safety, Lefty gets the city government (or any government) to pass a law requiring Brian’s bar to have a smoking and a non-smoking section.

A few people may be upset, but most just say it’s not worth the fight and Brian divides his bar into a smoking and non-smoking section.

But what is missed is the enormous violation of Brian’s God-given right to the ownership of private property.  Brian owns his bar.  It is his private property.  If Brian wants to allow people to smoke in his bar, then that is his solely his decision and the decision of no one else.  If a group of men, acting collectively and calling themselves the government, can deny Brian the right to the ownership of private property, then liberty is indeed dead.

And, since our rights are inseparable, when Brian loses his private property rights, he also loses his liberty and his life.

What’s sad is that all of us are like Brian, because in some way or another, we’ve been deprived of our right to the ownership of private property by the government.

And what’s even sadder is the fact that most people don’t even realize it.  Some, who would claim to believe in property rights, would support Brian having to divide up his bar into sections, and would also support the next step — a full ban on smoking in all bars.  I hear this every time I bring up this subject among my friends.

“But Brian, I don’t like smoke.  I remember going in restaurants when I was a kid and having to breathe in cigarette smoke.”  Or, for the one’s that do smoke, “It sucks, but I’ll just go outside and smoke.  No big deal.”

But it is a big deal.  It is an enormous deal.  Every time the issue of a smoking ban is debated, most people focus solely on the public safety side, and no one seems to even think about how that doesn’t matter at all.  It wouldn’t matter if one breathing second-hand smoke one time would make them die a horrible death.  It’s Brian’s bar, and if he wants to allow people to smoke, if they don’t like it then use their market choice and go somewhere else.

But it’s damn time we start defending private property rights once again!

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Published in: on July 27, 2008 at 10:05 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. No doubt. Well said, and it’s both unfortunate and somewhat astonishing that people fail to understand this.

  2. Dan,

    It is astonishing. What made me write that piece was a conversation I had with a close friend on Saturday, and no matter how I attempted to get to their logic, they would not admit that smoking bans are a violation of one’s private property rights. Just the fact that they don’t like cigarette smoke was enough to make them support a smoking ban. It’s sad that this individual is a hard-core Marxist and doesn’t even realize it.

    Almost makes expatriation to Costa Rica a lot more tempting…..

  3. Great post as it relates to smoking in public restaurants and bars. I agree. However, it’s a stretch to say we’ve lost our liberty and life as well.

    The government should be able to prohibit some of our actions though. For example, legalization of “all” drugs would be detrimental to the United States. And you always have the abortion issue.

    Also, could you imagine what it would be like if we didn’t have speed limits?

    I know I’m getting off the subject a bit, but I’m interested in your views.

  4. Harry,

    Good points, and I will attempt to address all of them this evening.

    As for the legalization of all drugs, it should be called re-legalization, since all drugs were legal in the US until the 1930s — and I don’t think we had crack heads all over the place.

    More to come later.

  5. You’re right. But, things have changed quite a bit since then.

  6. Sorry, Harry, but I’m swamped at work (worked until after 9 and am back at office already), so I won’t be able to address this until possibly this evening, or on lunch if I take more than enough time to slop down some noodles.

    As for the re-legalization of all drugs being detrimental to the US, I don’t think that there is any evidence to back this up. As I said earlier, when so-called “drugs” were illegal, we didn’t have the problems that the drug warriors claim we would have if they re-legalized them. Furthermore, a recent study showed that drug use is higher in the US than in countries where the drugs are legal.

    I just think it’s ashamed, and tyrannical, for someone to be able to go to jail for using a substance in the privacy of their own homes. What ever happened to freedom?

  7. I agree with you at some levels. However, I’m sure there is plenty of evidence backing up why we shouldn’t have crack, heroin, and methamphetamine for sale at your local gas station.


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